It’s hard to believe that Ransomware has been around for well over 30 years. So while it’s new term for some, for large and small business it should hardly be an unexpected threat. But surprisingly it is. Many are experiencing the harsh reality of their files being encrypted by malware. As a result they have to decide whether to: Firstly, rebuild their computer systems from the beginning to rid themselves of the of the ransomware. Or Secondly, just bite the bullet and pay up, hoping the crooks will be honest (not sure that’s possible!) and give them the encryption keys. Most importantly, why aren’t businesses learning from the companies that have experienced a ransomware attack since it started? It doesn’t make sense. But here we have a few reasons as to why.
1. Nobody thinks that they will be the next victim
Without experiencing any threats so far, many companies believe they’re not on a crooks hit list, as the next victim. Even if they are fully aware that ransomware is a threat. It seems to be a common obstacle. For example they think they’re:
- too small or unknown to matter to a ransomware gang.
- are too well protected to be at risk
But they’d be wrong either way
Firstly, some ransomware attacks start with a spray of malware-filled emails that could end up in pretty much anyone’s inbox.
Secondly, others start with randomly scanning for internet-facing ports
In other words, any of these type attacks could put any company of any size, and popularity at risk. And there are plenty of examples of larger companies being hit where it hurts by ransomware, effecting both their pockets and their reputation. Ransomware gangs have both the money and the time to go slow while taking over a larger company’s system.
2. Security basics are ignored
Most ransomware attacks can be prevented using some straightforward steps, even if the ransomware crooks come across as masterminds and undoubtedly at times, quite sophisticated in their attack. One example of a basic step is:
- ensure software is patched and updated
Some pretty old software flaws are all that’s need by ransomware in order to spread. Crooks rely on these loopholes or flaws to get in. But too many companies aren’t bothering to fix these flaws yet they are readily available. They maybe time consuming. And time is money in any business. But rebuilding all your customer databases would be significantly worse, if you are ever attacked.
3. Staff aren’t taking security seriously
Staff are uneducated about what phishing and ransomware look like. And since ransomware attacks often start with a bogus email, the whole organisation can be put at risk by a wrong click by just one staff member. So staff security training is important as it’s too easy for a single mistake to cause chaos. Typically if crooks gain access to a network:
Firstly, companies have same same passwords across the board and everything gets compromised.
Secondly, too many staff members have access to a broad range of systems. If they are hacked then the threat across all systems increase.
And, of course remote working is not making this any better.
4. Catching ransomware gangs is far too hard
Let’s face it, cyber-criminals are getting away with it. The police often have limited resources and limited know- how. In other words, there are very few officers that have the expertise to understand the crime that has been committed and how to chase the crooks involved. And these crooks are hard to trace. If they do happen to trace them, they’re are generally out of reach. From overseas or interstate. Too hard.
5. Too many businesses will pay the ransom
It estimated that between a third and half of all ransomware victims, pay up. And it’s totally understandable as to why. Executives are really between a rock and a hard place, they don’t want to pay but then risk losing their entire business. So they end up reaching for the bitcoin. Most importantly, this creates bigger issues,
Firstly, they end up rewarding the crooks by paying
Secondly, it also encourages others to give scamming a go.
The income they’re a generating is enormous. For example one ransomware group in 18 months generated around $60 million. And of course the more money the gang makes the more money they can offer developers. In other words, they can take their time on the bigger fish that may need more resources to get a high cash result. These gangs end up stronger than ever, as the cycle continues to repeat itself.
Let’s all aim to not to get caught by surprise! Let’s all aim to reduce the crooks income. Otherwise our ransomware headache will never go away.